From Within the Whirlwind

By the time I post this, it will be midnight, and 24 hours until January 4th. That’s the crazy day wayyyy off in the future when I get to go to one of my favorite locations (the airport) and hop on a big ol’ Delta machine headed south. Am I ready? Mentally, I’ve been ready since about five years ago. Logistically, I really hope that I at least leave the house with my passport. Packing for a year abroad and moving back home in the same 3 days is NOT recommended. Also we recently acquired a Wii, and it is not at all conducive to productivity.

In the midst of completely not preparing for Colombia, I decided I had a serious deficit of friend time, so a little [12+ hour roundtrip] car ride was in order – down to DC for some quality Windham lovin’. Some of my absolute favorite people congregated in Alexandria for New Year’s Eve to act like complete weirdos, make fun of each other, dance, drink and leave all filters and boundaries behind. Living so far from friends isn’t always easy, but it definitely makes the reunions…special.

Never forget your safe word.

It was also a great opportunity to do some fundraising for my trip. While other WorldTeach volunteers host fundraising parties and events, I just sat on the floor and had money thrown at me. Literally. The quarters hurt.

There's nothing like sitting on the floor as your friends degradingly fling coins at you.

I think the hole-y hobo tights I tried to wear the night before set off their pity (generosity?) but hey, girl’s gotta pay tolls.

Classy folk having a chuckle

C.S. Lewis wisely said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” That couldn’t sum up my best friendships more and I’m so very lucky to have them.

Now it’s officially January 3rd, so January 4th is tomorrow? That’s weird. If you’ll excuse me, I have to unpack and repack my bags 7 more times before I can sleep.

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On Roommates…and Some Whining

Once upon a time approximately a year ago, one of my oldest friends was pretending to listen to my mental breakdown regarding dying cold and alone in my parents’ house with no job and no friends, when he offhandedly mentioned the extra bedroom in his bachelor pad. Funny thing is, he probably didn’t think I would take him up on it. A few weeks later I had a job in Stamford and became the sixth (human) resident of WestConn’s “Baseball House”.

Living with five guys aged 20-23 was probably just like you’re picturing it (cleaner, though, because one of them is Joe-sessive Compulsive Postemsky.) One day I opened up my lunch at work to find that someone had taken a bite out of my leftover pizza, then put it back in the Tupperware. Other days I would find half the baseball team sitting on the roof, or play death matches of Cranium for hours. It was loud, comical, chaotic and absolutely wonderful. My roommates soon realized that I have a thick skin for verbal abuse, and let loose without mercy whenever they had a chance. They also were great for a hug or a laugh when I had a bad day, a built-in social life, and for opening jars.

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My Christmas Gift from Deej...PRECIOUS

In August some of us moved to a smaller house, where life is still interesting and hilarious, but quieter. Overall, the ten months I spent living and working in this corner of Connecticut would have been drastically different, dare I say worse, without my roommates. I will miss my Danbury/Brookfield family dearly. Joe, Deej, Jordan, Yates, Sam, Scribby and the rest of the crew: Thanks. You guys are the best.

As for the whining…I leave one week from tomorrow. Despite being unemployed for the month of December, I left virtually all preparations for this week. Today was dedicated to returning some Christmas gifts and the start of packing – this is my fourth lengthy trip abroad, but somehow I still SUCK at packing. I’m trying to balance everyday clothes with going out clothes, with business casual for teaching, with workout/lounge clothes, and then there are the shoes, and the accessories, and makeup and toiletries and I don’t even know what. After verging on insanity I came up with a decent system, and I think I’ll be ok. Unfortunately, there are no useful opinions in the mancave.

The Year Ahead

Many of you may know that I tend to live life six months at a time. On average. Four years at the University of Connecticut were comfortably broken up by semesters in Spain and Ecuador. My fascinating liberal arts courses granted me a degree in Latin America Studies and Spanish, always cushioned by an “I’ll figure something out” mantra regarding the future. And so far, I have.

Graduation. Post-rugby surgery. Guatemala. [desperate job searching from my parents’ dining table]. JOB! (Temporary. Cue, “I’ll figure something out”) Move in with WestConn baseball alumni. Commute commute commute commute commute WEEKEND. Repeat. Start job search and panic as temping position winds down. Move to Brookfield with half the roommates. Back to Guatemala for vacation. Part-time coaching job. Part-time babysitting job. Get re-hired by full-time job!

Did you catch that?

At some point during the summer, I decided to apply to a program with WorldTeach that would send me to Colombia to teach English during 2012. I got accepted, and I’m going! January 4, 2012. Until then, I’m running around the greater Fairfield County area trying to save money, learn to teach, and enjoy the last months with my favorite family members, roommates and coworkers.

Who's a handsome roomie??

Why Colombia?
Long Answer: I don’t know. Because I’m 23 and what else do I really need to be doing right now? Because my three stays abroad so far have been immeasurably valuable?
Because as a kid, all my dolls and stuffed animals were running away from home instead of playing house. Because I have always been so fascinated by other cultures, countries and languages.

I’m enchanted in particular by Latin America.
Conveniently, that’s where Colombia is located.

I’m not a teacher. I do, however, love a good challenge. And, as I’ve seen first-hand abroad and even in my hometown, education is so vitally important for anyone to move forward in the world. WorldTeach is committed to working with schools and institutions in host countries in order to provide teachers. Regardless of the age of my students, I hope at least one of them will get the push they need from learning English to propel them on their way out of the unfortunate underprivileged cycle. When I think about my amazing, chaotic life from the past few years, everything has emerged from my education in a second language. Why not share the wealth?

Why Colombia?
Short Answer: It’s just what I do.

Also, Colombia has chivas.

I miss you, Quito

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